Today we share this recipe of traditional Christmas cakes that we call ‘Caggiunitt’ in our Abruzzese dialet. All year we wait for Christmas time just for a taste of the famous ‘Calcionetti or Cagionetti’ and who would not go crazy for these Abruzzo fried sweets? They are among the best known during the winter preparations in December. The art of cake making is as varied as the Abruzzo region. Almonds are playing an important role, in either whole or flour form, equally important is the use of honey, boild/cooked must, chestnuts, chocolate and grape jam.
This below is a typical recipe of the Teramo area but can be found in other places in the Abruzzo region and the fillings vary from town to town according to what can be sourced locally. In Chietino, the Calcionetti filling is usually Chick Pea, in L’Aquila it is Almonds, while in our province, Teramo, Caggionetti are always prepared with delicious Chestnut Cream.
If you want to mix things up, you can always use Jam or Nutella. The results are always delectable, tasting is believing!
For the filling:
500 gr boiled then mashed chestnuts
100 gr peeled almonds, toasted and chopped
150 gr grated dark chocolate
Grated lemon rind
50 gr cedar diced
3 x tablespoons of Acacia honey
3 x tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup of rum (to taste)
For the pastry:
500 gr Flour
1 x egg yolk
½ cup of dry white wine
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 x tablespoon of sugar
Peanut oil for frying
Mix the mashed chestnuts with all the filling ingredients and leave to stand for 2 / 3 hours. In the meanwhile prepare the pastry by mixing the ingredients and then rolling it to form a ball, wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
The secret lies in the way you fry, change the oil for fresh oil as often as possible, as the Grandmother’s say the Calcionetti should be white to be of a good quality.